Themes in Proverbs: A true friend is tactful and avoids strife

Proverbs 11:12–13

12 He who despises his neighbor lacks sense,

But a man of understanding keeps silent.

13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,

But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.


Tact is defined as: a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.

This ability is not ingrained in our being, it must be taught and learned. For example, children have no problem expressing their opinion about your bad breath. They are honest concerning matters where most might choose to remain silent. For a child this is normal. For an adult this is tactless and in some cases, asking for strife.

Last week we were encouraged to speak out boldly in the name of truth. This will always be true. As Christians, we must find tact in our discussions about what God desires for our lives. We should go the extra mile to avoid any senseless harm when matters of opinion are concerned.